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Recruiting [AUS] A smartphone app (S-Check) designed to help Australians manage their methamphetamine use (The S-Check App trial)

S Check App Trial

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The S-Check App trial: A research study into a smartphone app (S-Check) designed to help Australians manage their methamphetamine use

In Australia, one in 70 people have used methamphetamine in the past year. Harms related to methamphetamine use are increasing. Yet many who are experiencing harm from methamphetamine use do not seek help, or delay seeking help for many years.

To address this, The Stimulant Treatment Program at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney (SVHS) has developed the S-Check App, based on the model of care at its S-Check Clinic. The App is a readily accessible tool for people who might not have access to regular treatment and support. It also acts as an aid to other forms of treatment.

The S-Check App aims to inform people who use methamphetamine about the harms and risks associated with their use. It encourages people to seek treatment by providing vital information about methamphetamine and its effects. It enables them to assess their risks and contact appropriate services where necessary.

A trial to test the effectiveness of the S-Check App in helping people to manage their methamphetamine use is currently under way. The trial aims to assess whether the App can increase awareness and encourage treatment seeking in people who use methamphetamine.

The key features of the S-Check App are questionnaires, reminders, alerts, information, and regular check-ins to track ongoing health. Individual health assessment is made through six key categories:

  • Physical Health
  • Methamphetamine Use
  • Psychological Wellbeing
  • Sexual Health
  • Cognitive Health
  • Social Health & Lifestyle


In each category, App users will be asked to respond to a series of questions about them and their methamphetamine use. The App will evaluate responses and provide individualised feedback on methamphetamine related risks and harm, as well as suggestions on how best to manage use. App users will be provided with relevant information and support should they need it.

The S-Check App provides interactive tools for people to discover more about methamphetamine and track their use over time. There is a journal section where people can save photos, audio and words to document their experiences. An achievement section is also available to mark their progress. More importantly, users can access to the ‘Help Now’ section with a list of emergency and support services should urgent help be required. Finally, if the App assesses that the users should seek help from a health professional, a referral letter can be generated and downloaded from the App to present to their GP.

The S-Check App trial is open to anyone who reports using methamphetamine in the past month, is over 18 years old, residing in Australia, and has access to a personal smartphone to participate in the study.

If you wish to participate in the trial:

The App is available to download for free on Google® Play or the Apple® App store.

For more information on the S-Check App trial, visit www.scheckapp.org.au or contact Florence Bascombe on [email protected]

[This project has been approved by the St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney HREC Ref No: 18/171]
 

Atelier3

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How strict are its parameters for recommending treatment? Are they aligned with very conservative government guidelines?

I believe this facility was the only one in Australia using a substitution approach to meth addiction. Giving pharma dex instead of street meth. That program now cancelled now with inconclusive results regarding effectiveness.

Hugely difficult to get help from them. I called 3 separate times and never got a call back. They are primarily oriented towards aboriginal and LQBTQ patients
 

neversickanymore

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I believe this facility was the only one in Australia using a substitution approach to meth addiction. Giving pharma dex instead of street meth. That program now cancelled now with inconclusive results regarding effectiveness.

Hugely difficult to get help from them. I called 3 separate times and never got a call back. They are primarily oriented towards aboriginal and LQBTQ patients

Looks like they are researching great avenues.
 

Atelier3

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I’ve been road-testing the app. Although I quit cold turkey (apart from Rx meds and am aiming for total abstinence I can see it being very helpful for all kinds of meth users and people wanting to just moderate or monitor their use.

The app seems very good for prompting the kind of self-reflection about the dangers and impacts of meth use that many users quickly lose the ability to do without help.

There are extensive links from the app to lots of practical information and resources. Depending on your answers the most relevant are prompted by the app. It’s very helpful in that regard.
 

Atelier3

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Looks like they are researching great avenues.
It seems that the patients they offer treatment to are determined by what grants they have to do research with. If the active grant is for researching LGBTQ, Youth, or Aboriginal user groups they are the people who get accepted as in-patients.

Soccer moms and middle-aged white collar workers don’t get much grant money when it comes to drug research. Which is unfortunate because there is massive untreated drug abuse in middle Australia. A 50 year old white hetero male in employment has no government funded residential treatment options for stimulant abuse.

However, I am sure the flow on from research on minority - vulnerable groups will benefit other groups in time. The app is probably a good example of that happening.
 

neversickanymore

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It seems that the patients they offer treatment to are determined by what grants they have to do research with. If the active grant is for researching LGBTQ, Youth, or Aboriginal user groups they are the people who get accepted as in-patients.

Soccer moms and middle-aged white collar workers don’t get much grant money when it comes to drug research. Which is unfortunate because there is massive untreated drug abuse in middle Australia. A 50 year old white hetero male in employment has no government funded residential treatment options for stimulant abuse.

However, I am sure the flow on from research on minority - vulnerable groups will benefit other groups in time. The app is probably a good example of that happening.


Funding can come with strings and you have to play the game in life.

I would get into that topic Atelier3 but we are kind of leading this thread astray .
 

S Check App Trial

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Funding can come with strings and you have to play the game in life.

I would get into that topic Atelier3 but we are kind of leading this thread astray .
Hello - thanks for the comments! It seems like a couple of questions are in regards to the St Vincent's Stimulant Treatment Program (STP) itself rather than the app, which, although modelled on the S-Check Clinic model of care does have some differences. I'll try to answer all of your questions as best as I can.

The reason that the app is a little different to the in-house STP S-Check model of care is that the target audience for the app is people who might not yet consider any need to seek treatment, and so in the scope of harm reduction aims to inform people who use methamphetamine about the harms and risks associated with their use. I think you hit the nail on the head @Atelier3 with your comment:
The app seems very good for prompting the kind of self-reflection about the dangers and impacts of meth use that many users quickly lose the ability to do without help.

The St Vincent's STP is also still running a study which involves prescribed Lisdexamphetamine. That study is called the LiMA study and is still recruiting in sites in Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne and Adelaide. There was a pilot study that ran a couple of years ago which has now ended, perhaps you are thinking of that? If you are interested in the LiMA study they have a website (https://limastudy.info/) and you can contact the study team through the website too.

I am sorry to hear that you had trouble getting to hear from anyone from the clinic, and I will pass on your feedback. The clinic is not orientated towards any specific population group but I can understand why it might feel that way as there is a large population of LGBTIQ+ clients living in the vicinity of the clinic (Darlinghurst, Sydney) which then reflects on who attends the clinic. Unfortunately St Vincent's Hospital (Sydney) doesn't have an inpatient residential stimulant treatment program, but if you contact the outpatients clinic they should be able to give more information on what options are available.

Thanks for the feedback so far!
Florence
 

S Check App Trial

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How strict are its parameters for recommending treatment? Are they aligned with very conservative government guidelines?

The app is intended as a tool to make participants more aware of their methamphetamine use and provide them with advice. As such, even though some of the questions may be uncomfortable to answer, it is required to provide the appropriate advice. The S-Check App includes a "help now" section which provides a list of services (most of which are available 24 hours a day).

With regards to the parameters of treatment, the app has a variety of validated self-assessment tools. If the results of the self-assessment indicate further follow-up or assessment is required (e.g pertaining to phsychological/sexual/physical health), the app user is recommended to speak with their GP. This information is also provided in a PDF letter, which the app user can print or email to their healthcare professional, providing a summary of the app and the areas that require further assessment.
 

neversickanymore

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The app is intended as a tool to make participants more aware of their methamphetamine use and provide them with advice. As such, even though some of the questions may be uncomfortable to answer, it is required to provide the appropriate advice. The S-Check App includes a "help now" section which provides a list of services (most of which are available 24 hours a day).

With regards to the parameters of treatment, the app has a variety of validated self-assessment tools. If the results of the self-assessment indicate further follow-up or assessment is required (e.g pertaining to phsychological/sexual/physical health), the app user is recommended to speak with their GP. This information is also provided in a PDF letter, which the app user can print or email to their healthcare professional, providing a summary of the app and the areas that require further assessment.

Quite brilliant imho. I hope it generates positive results.
 
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bigshot23

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I didn't mind going in for paid research. do you know if the funding from that made room to participate in online study/studies?
 

S Check App Trial

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Hi bigshot23, thanks for the question!
Participants who enrol in the S-Check App trial, and provide their consent to continue have the option to receive a $25 woolworths e-gift voucher upon completion of the questionnaire at day 28. Following that, participants can then opt-in to be contacted for a telephone interview, upon which a further $20 woolworths e-gift voucher is offered as an incentive. Finally, for participants who continue to use the app up to day 56, and complete a final day 56 questionnaire, another $25 woolworths e-gift voucher is available.

Just as a heads up to anyone reading this - We will need to close recruitment on April 1st, which means that is the latest date that the app will be available to download and participants to provide their consent. So if you are interested, we would encourage downloading the app soon!
kind regards
 

Atelier3

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I used the app for a solid 2 months of sobriety. I found it extremely helpful. Especially in the first couple of weeks.

I kind of think that if I had kept using it regularly I wouldn’t have cashed out after 2 months.

I’ll be starting with it again in a few days.
 
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